Aurora supercomputer (Argonne National Lab)

Energy looks for exascale storage

A data storage system for the first U.S. computer capable 1 quintillion calculations per second isn’t an off-the- shelf item, so Argonne National Laboratory wants ideas from industry on how to make one.

Last summer, the Department of Energy's Argonne Lab outside of Chicago said it would house Aurora, the first the first U.S. computer capable of 1-exaflop performance.  Intel Corp. and Cray expect to deliver the computer in 2021 on a contract worth more than $500 million.

In an April 21 request for information, Argonne Leadership Computing Facility (ALCF) asked for ideas for a storage solution that will provide the bandwidth, reliability and scalability required for the next-generation of high-performance computing systems and  could be moved into production in the second quarter of 2022.

The ALCF wants storage system that can support exascale computing, including simulation, machine-learning and deep-learning workloads. Any solution, it said, should also come with a way to manage data across single or multiple storage tiers with a usable capacity of at least 230 petabytes, which is roughly a million gigbytes. The system would also require bandwidth of at least 25 terabytes, according to the RFI.

“The ALCF is interested in a single fast tier of storage for this solution, but is also interested in seeing any options that would satisfy our requirements, including those that are built on multiple storage tiers.   The storage system should support connectivity to Linux based OS platforms,” it said.

The lab said that while ALCF budgets depend on federal planning, respondents to the RFI shouldn’t feel constrained by budget at this point. It said it is “primarily concerned with getting information on a solution that will perform to the above stated performance and capacity targets.”

Responses are due May 15.

About the Author

Mark Rockwell is a senior staff writer at FCW, whose beat focuses on acquisition, the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Energy.

Before joining FCW, Rockwell was Washington correspondent for Government Security News, where he covered all aspects of homeland security from IT to detection dogs and border security. Over the last 25 years in Washington as a reporter, editor and correspondent, he has covered an increasingly wide array of high-tech issues for publications like Communications Week, Internet Week, Fiber Optics News, tele.com magazine and Wireless Week.

Rockwell received a Jesse H. Neal Award for his work covering telecommunications issues, and is a graduate of James Madison University.

Click here for previous articles by Rockwell. Contact him at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter at @MRockwell4.


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